The Avedis Foundation has awarded a $450,000 grant to Project Safe.

During the last 30 years, the delivery and types of services offered by Project Safe has seen changes, but its mission has always been to support those impacted by domestic and sexual violence and stalking through services focused on safety, self-sufficiency and empowerment.

"On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Avedis Foundation, we are pleased to announce this $450,000 grant for the purchase and remodeling of a building to provide administrative offices, furniture and equipment for Project Safe, the Pottawatomie and Lincoln County Domestic Violence Center,” said Michelle Briggs, Avedis Foundation President and CEO.

“The Center does incredible work in protecting and providing shelter to individuals in violent environments. Avedis is proud to support Project Safe's staff and clients with a healthier and safer administrative environment,” she added.

Project Safe was started by a group of concerned citizens in 1985 to serve Pottawatomie County, and opened its doors with just one advocate and a hotline. Since inception, Project Safe has added emergency shelter services, coordination and advocacy during forensic examinations for victims of sexual assault, and has added Lincoln County to its service area. To this day, Project Safe continues to provide free confidential services to victims of domestic violence, sexual violence and stalking, and is certified by the Oklahoma Office of the Attorney General.

"The Board and Staff of Project Safe are so excited about the opportunities for expansion and enhancement of services that this Avedis Foundation grant provides. Their generosity secures the future provision of compassionate, comprehensive and timely services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in our community,” said Mystie Smith, Executive Director of Project Safe. “Words can't express our appreciation for their support, and for their responsive concern for the victims served by our agency."

The project funded by Avedis Foundation includes the purchase of a public access office site where victims, secondary victims, and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking can receive immediate assistance with the filing of Emergency Protective Orders, Court Advocacy, Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Advocacy, Trauma-Informed professional counseling, Support Groups, Safety planning, Emergency Transportation services, and assistance to Emergency Shelter.

In addition, the remodel of and installation of modern security systems at the new emergency shelter site will enable Project Safe to accommodate a greater number of women and children in need of safety in a comfortable, home-like setting.

The Avedis Foundation is a private foundation established June 2012 from the sale of Unity Health Center to St. Anthony Hospital.